About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to Use eBird: Help fledge a new birder

eBird is a website people from around the world use to report the birds they see in their backyards, parks, on vacation or even in your office parking lot. Some people just like to count birds as a way to keep track of personal lists, and others use eBird’s tools to report rare birds or better understand the occurrence of birds close to home and around the world.
Northern Cardinal. Photo: Lesley Val Adams/Great Backyard Bird Count
On February 17-20, 2017, Cornell Lab of Ornithology teams up with eBird for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds. Wild Birds Unlimited is helps sponsor the event and we encourage you to take just 15 minutes on any or all the days to submit reports of the birds you see.

All bird observations are valuable, and every sighting--no matter how common the species--is important for understanding where and when birds occur around the globe. Your observations appear with others from the eBird community on eBird’s maps and graphs. Researchers download the data to make more informed conservation decisions.

To get started you go to eBird.org and create a new account. There are privacy settings at http://ebird.org/ebird/prefs that allow you to submit reports anonymously.

To enter your data into eBird:
  1. Go to the "Submit Observations" tab at the top of the page.
  2. Enter your State in the "Find it on a Map" search option.
  3. On the map that opens, type the address of sighting.
  4. Next they will ask you a) The Date b) How you went birding. In other words, were you walking a trail, watching out a window, etc. c) The time of the observation, d) How long you were observing, and e) The number of people watching
  5. On the checklist page, you can use the "Jump to Species" box to type in the bird name or scroll down until you find the birds you want to report and enter the number you saw. Write down only the highest number of each species you see at any one time to avoid counting the same birds more than once. For example, if you see 8 cardinals as you start your count period, then later you see 12, and later still you see 3, you’ll only report 12--the highest number you saw together at once. You do not add the numbers together
  6. At the bottom right there is a very important question: "Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify?" It is best if you try to give a full picture of what you see. By submitting a complete checklist of birds they can learn more about where a species occurs with regularity, but equally important they can begin to say with certainty where it does not occur. 
  7. Click Submit and then you have done your bit to help with bird conservation! It is so easy I hope you help fledge a new birders!!
More helpful information:
Get started by following our quick start guide: http://ebird.org/quick-start-guide
Links to bar charts, recent sightings, and the best local birding hotspots: http://ebird.org/ebird/places 
See eBird Science Use for more information:  http://ebird.org/science-use
Complete checklists vs. incomplete checklists: http://ebird.org/reporting-all-species.

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